Review: In Close by Brenda Novak

Hot, intense passion and suspense combine to create one of the best romantic suspense novels of the year

In Close coverFifteen years ago, Claire O’Toole’s mother disappeared. Last year, Claire’s husband David was shot dead in a freak hunting accident. And today, as Claire begins to investigate the disappearance that’s haunted her since she was a teenager, she starts to suspect there may be a connection between the two.

Isaac Morgan has loved Claire forever. They had a brief affair in their early 20s, but Isaac let his own insecurities sabotage their relationship. He spurned Claire’s love, then had to watch her marry someone else. Now that she’s on her own, and in danger, he won’t let her face the danger alone.

Brenda Novak’s Bulletproof trilogy has rocked my world. The first, Inside, features one of the most unusual heroes I’ve ever read about: a former prison gang member. The second, In Seconds, continues with the gang trying to get to their former member by attempting to murder his sister.

In Close, the last in the trilogy, shifts gears and kept me guessing to the very end. Instead of focusing on gang members seeking revenge on one of their own, In Close features a small-town murderer, a trail gone cold, and a daughter who’s never forgotten. It barely mentions the storyline that runs through the first two novels, so can easily be read on its own (when, as I said in my review of In Seconds, the second book can’t be).

The romance in In Close is as passionate and intense as the suspense. You get the impression Claire and Isaac could only fulfill each other. Their love affair was interrupted by Isaac’s inability to believe a woman could love him, and now that Claire is grieving for her husband their love for each other is a tinderbox.

Brenda Novak has a brilliant way of revealing information when you least expect it. While Claire’s big question throughout the book is “Where is my mother?”, the reader discovers her mother’s whereabouts around half way through the story. That bit of information heightens the suspense, prompting the reader to realize that there are bigger questions to ask.

I thoroughly enjoyed In Close and struggled to force myself to put it down.  Highly recommend.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Heat: 3 (sensual)


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